Richard Ansdell was a nineteenth century painter who painted lots of portraits of rural life in Scotland and England. In this particular potrait, he is potraying a Scottish game keeper and a brace of gundogs. Ansdell was well-acquainted with country life around Loch Laggan.
They might be setters or unusually colored wavy-coated retrievers. The reason why I think these dogs might be retrievers is that Ansdell clearly depicted setters in another portrait of a gamekeeper shooting blackcock. The dogs in this other painting are like modern red and white setters and lack the large size and heavier bone of the dogs in the above depiction. Further, the black and white dog shows brindling, something that was often associated with contemporary wavy-coated retrievers. Of course, setters in Scotland were often heavier than ones bred in Ireland or England and Wales.
Reddish colored wavy-coats were also not unknown at the time. Landseer painted one named “Breeze” in 1843. These dogs were typically culled from retriever breeding programs at the large estates, for this was a time in which the preferred retriever color was black.
Even if these dogs are setters, they closely represent the sort of dogs that the 1st Baron Tweedmouth would have been able to procure in his vicinity. It is from these local dogs that he would be able to breed his peculiar line, one selected for yellow or reddish hair that excelled in retrieving from the grouse moors.
Therefore, this depiction is of real historical significance in trying to understand what the golden’s ancestors were like.